Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Other Establishments - Experimental and Administrative


Aeroplane Experimental Establishment

The Tseting Squadron at Martlesham Heath was renamed Aeroplane Experimental Station on 16 Oct 1917 and this in turn was renamed the Aeroplane Experimental Establishment on 16 Mar 1920.  Initially in No 3 Group it was transferred to No 1 Group on 31 Aug 1921, to Coastal Area on 1 Feb 1922 and finally to Inland Area on 1 Apr 1923.  It was renamed Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment on 24 Mar 1924.

xx xxx xxxx        Wg Cdr N J Gill


Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment

This was formed on 24 Mar 1924 by renaming the Aeroplane Experimental Establishment.  It On 14 Jan 1926 it was organised into No 15 Squadron for Armament testing and No 22 Squadron for Performance and Handling.  No 22 Sqn disbanded on 1 May 1934, being replaced by  the Armament Testing Sqn and Performance Testing Sqn, with No 15 Sqn leaving on 1 Jun 1934.  Its location at Martlesham Heath made it vulnerable to attack so on 9 Sep 1939 it was moved to Boscombe Down in No 23 Group.  On 14 Sep 1950 it absorbed the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment and on 1 Nov 1959 was redesignated RAF Unit (Ministry of Aviation) Boscombe Down and on 1 Apr 1992 the Aircraft and Armament Evaluation Establishment.  A & A E E became part of the Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation in 1993 and then the Defence and Evaluation Research Agency in 1995.  The Commandant's post was redesignated Air Commodore Test and Evaluation (Boscombe Down).

Motto:    Probe Probare

24 Mar 1924              Wg Cdr N J Gill

25 Sep 1924              Wg Cdr H Blackburn

23 Nov 1928:             Wg Cdr V O Rees

17 Sep 1933:              Gp Capt A C Maund

18 Jan 1937:               Gp Capt H G Smart

25 Nov 1938:             Gp Capt B McEntegart

xx xxx 1940                A/Cdre R S Sorley

xx xxx 1942                A/Cdre R B Mansell

xx xxx 1943

xx Jul 1944                 A/Cdre J N Boothman

xx xxx 1945                A/Cdre H P Fraser

xx xxx 1946                A/Cdre C B R Pelly  

xx Jul 1948                 A/Cdre H L Patch

xx xxx 1950                A/Cdre A W B McDonald

xx xxx 1953?              A/Cdre A H Wheeler 

xx xxx 1955                A/Cdre R A R Rae

xx xxx 1957                A/Cdre A E Clouston

xx xxx 1960                A/Cdre J F Roulston

xx xxx 1964                A/Cdre F R Bird

xx xxx 1968             

xx xxx 1970                A/Cdre R L Topp

12 Aug 1972              A/Cdre G C Cairns

12 Oct 1974               A/Cdre A D Dick

 6 Sep 1975                A/Cdre H A Merriman           

26 Mar 1977              A/Cdre B Brownlow

22 Dec 1979              A/Cdre R J Spiers

10 Sep 1983              A/Cdre G C Williams

20 Dec 1985              A/Cdre P D L Gover

xx xxx 1988                A/Cdre D L Bywater

xx xxx 1992

xx xxx 1994                A/Cdre C J Cruickshanks?

23 Sep 1996               A/Cdre N R Wood


Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment

 Marine Aircraft Experimental Station

Marine and Armament Experimental Establishment (Home)

3 Aug 1925                Wg Cdr R B Maycock


Central Fighter Establishment 

Formed at Tangmere on 25 Sep 1945 as a nucleus, it moved to Wittering, where it was formally opened on 1 Oct 1944 as part of No 12 Group.  It absorbed the Fighter Leaders School on 27 Dec 1944 and returned to Tangmere on 15 Jan 1945.  On 1 Oct 1945, it moved to West Raynham, where it absorbed the Fighter Weapons School in Oct 1957.  It finally moved to Binbrook on 5 Oct 1962 and disbanded there on 1 Feb 1966.

25 Sep 1945                 A/Cdre R L R Atcherley,

xx xxx 1945                  ?

xx xxx 1948                  A/Cdre D F W Atcherley.

xx xxx 1950:                 A/Cdre W J Crisham.

xx xxx 1953                  A/Cdre G D Stephenson.

10 Dec 1954                A/Cdre J Grandy.

xx xxx 1957                  A/Cdre E L Colbeck-Welch.

xx xxx 1958                  A/Cdre H I Edwards.

xx xxx 1964                  A/Cdre E W Tacon

| Aircraft and Marking |


Central Bomber Establishment 

Formed at Marham in No 3 Group on 25 Sep 1945, it moved to Lindholme on 14 Apr 1949, where it disbanded on 21 Dec 1949.

xx xxx 1945                   ?

xx xxx 1947                   A/Cdre S O Bufton.

xx xxx 1947                   A/Cdre W E Staton.

xx xxx 1949                   A/Cdre D H F Barnett.


Central Photographic Establishment 

Formed 15 Aug 1946 from No 106 (PR) Group.  Disbanded 1 Mar 1950 

xx xxx 1946                A/Cdre G E Nicholetts


Central Reconnaissance Establishment 

Formed 12 Jan 1957 within No 3 Group.  Disbanded 1 Oct 1970.  

12 Jan 1957                A/Cdre  D S Radford

 1 Jan 1959                 A/Cdre E G Jones

17 Nov 1967              A/Cdre K C M Giddings

 3 Sep 1969                A/Cdre D J Furner


Central Signals Establishment 

Formed 1 Sep 1946.  Disbanded 1 Jul 1965.  

 1 Sep 1946                Gp Capt  C V D Willis

xx xxx 1948                Gp Capt L Dalton-Morris           


Central Trials and Tactics Organization

Formed xx xxx 1969? to centralise the trailing of operational modifications and the development of tactics for all RAF operational aircraft.  Administered by Strike Command.  Renamed Air Warfare Centre, 13 Jul 1994.

 30 Nov 1969              A/Cdre C D A Browne

11 Nov 1972               A/Cdre A S R Strudwick

 6 Feb 1976                 A/Cdre G A Chesworth

14 Nov 1977               A/Cdre J M Pack

22 Dec 1979               A/Cdre J R Walker

19 Dec 1981               A/Cdre J E Nevill

29 Mar 1985               A/Cdre W B Maish

16 Jan 1987                A/Cdre R M Austin

xx Jun 1987                 Vacant

 7 Dec 1987                A/Cdre J E Houghton

13 Jul 1990                 A/Cdre J G Lumsden


Air Warfare Centre

Formed 1 July 1993 by amalgamating the CTTO, the Department of Air Warfare (DAW) of the RAF College Cranwell, the Electronic Warfare Operational Support Establishment (EWOSE) at Wyton and the Operational Research Branch of HQ STC.  The RN and Army EW Operational Support Units, also at Wyton, took the opportunity to merge into the organisation on its coalescence at RAF Waddington on 4 September1995.  The Air Intelligence (A2) section of HQ STC later joined.  It has always had some responsibility for RN and Army fixed and rotary aircraft support including tactical development.   The (tri-Service) Defence Electronic Warfare Centre (DEWC), the single successor to EWOSE, RNEWOSU and Army EWOSU, is hosted in the AWC and the staffs of that organisation are fully embedded within the AWC.  The Commandant AWC also holds the title of Director DEWC**.  Administered by Strike Command it is responsible for all trialling operational modifications and the development of tactics for all RAF operational aircraft.  It was transferred to Air Command on 1 Apr 2007.  In 2013 the AWC Cranwell was redesignated the Air Warfare School

** Thanks to Wynne Davies for much of the description above.

Motto:    Arma Iudicare Consilium Dare 

13 Jul 1994                 A/Cdre J G  Lumsden

 4 Jan 1996                 A/Cdre R V Morris

6 Jul 1998                   A/Cdre R J Horwood

24 Jul 2000                 A/Cdre S W Peach

 4 Jul 2003                  A/Cdre C M Nickols

xx Sep 2005                A/Cdre T M Anderson

13 Apr 2007               A/Cdre J Stinton

xx Dec 2009               A/Cdre E J Stringer

 8 Jul 2011                  A/Cdre S C Evans

xx May 2013              A/Cdre B H Hedley


Joint Warfare Establishment

 Formed 31 Mar 1963 by amalgamating School of Land/Air Warfare with Amphibious Warfare School.   Disbanded 22 Jul 1976.

 31 Mar 1963                AVM C T Weir

 3 Jul 1964                    ?

xx xxx xxxx:                   ?

15 Nov 1968                AVM P deL Le Cheminant

30 Nov 1970                Rear Admiral Guritz RN

xx xxx xxxx:                ?

19 Nov 1974                AVM F S Hazlewood


Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre

Formed 9 Apr 1962 at Biggin Hill.  Moved to Cranwell, Sep 1992, since when the AOC has also been Director of Recruiting and Selection?.

Motto:    Select

xx xxx 1962                A/Cdre R D Elliott

xx xxx 1965                A/Cdre H P Connolly

xx xxx 1967                A/Cdre T P Seymour

 1 Jul 1970                  A/Cdre J W Allan

 1 Jun 1971                 A/Cdre C C M Baker

xx xxx 1973                A/Cdre P A Latham

xx xxx 1974

 7 May 1977               A/Cdre A G Steele

 3 Jun 1978                 A/Cdre G T Smeaton, 

 9 Jun 1979                 A/Cdre D L F Thornton

29 Jan 1983                A/Cdre D Allison

18 Jun 1985                A/Cdre J A Bell

25 Aug 1989               A/Cdre G R Pitchfork

11 Oct 1991                A/Cdre P D L Gover

17 Aug 1992  

14 Jul 2000                   A/Cdre M L Feenan?

RAF Record Office

Formed xx xxx xxxx at act as the central posting unit. Renamed RAF Personnel Management Centre, xx xxx xxxx.

xx xxx xxxx:                Wg Cdr H B Bonning

1 May 1920:               Wg Cdr W F MacNeece/W MacN Foster

11 Jan 1921:               Sqn Ldr A H S Steele-Perkins

1 Oct 1922:                Sqn Ldr-Gp Capt J W Cordingley

17 Jul 1939:                ?

 1 Dec 1949               A/Cdre R Coats

24 Sep 1951               A/Cdre W E V Richards

 2 Mar 1956               A/Cdre R W L Glenn

15 Jan 1958               A/Cdre A L Derry

 1 Aug 1960:              A/Cdre G H White

1965 - 68                   A/Cdre T J Hanlon


Personnel Management Centre/Agency

Personnel Management Centre formed xx Sep 1971 by renaming the RAF Record and Pay Office.  Re-named RAF Personnel Management Agency, xx xxx xxxx.

13 Sep 1971               AVM J T Lawrence

20 Oct 1973                AVM G J Kemp

 6 Sep 1975                 A/Cdre K Stevens

 9 Jul 1977                    ?

12 Sep 1981                 A/Cdre K F Sanderson

13 Sep 1983                 AVM J B Duxbury

 7 Dec 1985                  AVM R A Mason

13 Feb 1989                 AVM R J Honey

31 Mar 1994                AVM R P O'Brien  

28 Aug 1998                AVM I M Stewart

This page was last updated on 23/06/17 using FrontPage 2003 

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